Wildlife

Project 365 | 130312 | Woodpeckers

There are a couple of Northern Flicker woodpeckers who live in our neighborhood and visit our property and trees from time to time.

When I went outside to capture some raindrops, I noticed a couple of them playing (or battling) in our front area. So, I put on my 2x extender and my 70-200mm and cranked it to 400mm to capture the action. I also turned to continuous shutter, to capture the scene in about 6 frames per second. Below is my favorite frame of the interaction, as I think it tells the story best.


Project 365 | 130312 | Woodpeckers | © Jay Moore Photography


Project 365 | 130302 | Blue Jay

We woke to the wonderful sounds of birds chirping and realized, while sipping our morning coffee, that we had tons of winged visitors outside on our lawn. And although I had only drank about a quarter cup of my morning joe, I grabbed my 2x extender and 70-200mm and quietly walked outside to snap a few images.

We have a family of Blue Jays that enjoy hanging around are yard and at one time last year I counted five of them playing in our trees. Although at times they can be aggressive to other birds and are very territorial, they are also helpful for smaller birds, as they’re the ones that sound the alarm when larger, predator birds approach. And on this morning they were playing nicely with the Robins, Woodpeckers and several other birds that we were unable to fully identify.


Project 365 | 130302 | Blue Jay | © Jay Moore Photography


Raven

The city of Baltimore and the surrounding areas are buzzing with energy as the Ravens get set for battle against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday.

I decided to get into the mix with a post of a Raven that I photographed a few years back when visiting Bryce National Park with my wife and a couple of our closest friends. For those of you that have never enjoyed seeing a real raven in nature, they don’t resemble a crow at all (although many people think they look alike). Raven’s are extremely smart creatures, they seem to walk with an attitude and are very active and playful … I guess, sort of like this years Baltimore Ravens team. And yes, just like in the image below, they have a beautiful purple shimmer to their feathers that dances with the sunlight.


Raven | © Jay Moore Photography

GO RAVENS …

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Mountain Goat

If you’re visiting Glacier National Park, you have a great chance to see mountain goats, as they call the high alpine terrain home. However, they’re not easy to spot as they blend into the mountain side and tend to sit motionless for long periods of time.

If you want an opportunity to view them up close, take the short, but rewarding hike to hidden lake. During our time at the viewpoint that looks over the lake, we were visited by several mountain goats, one in which walked within feet of our resting spot before it took its own path down the face of the rocks.


Mountain Goat | Glacier National Park | © Jay Moore Photography

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Grizzly Bear and Her Cub

This is exactly how close I want to be to a wild grizzly bear and her cub … Several hundred feet and a mountain side away. It was a great experience to see such a beautiful creature and her cub (small white puff ball slightly behind and above the grizzly bear) in nature. And I (and my wife and good friends) were completely okay that I never was able to get a close-up of one of the most fierce animals in the wild.


Grizzly Bear and Her Cub | © Jay Moore Photography

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses

Seeing wild horses galloping down the beach and taking a dip in the ocean’s waves is one of the sights that never gets old. And one in which you might see if you spend some time at Assateauge Island.

During our recent visit to the island for some camping, we were lucky enough to have a group of horses stop near us to take an afternoon swim. I photographed them for about 10-15 minutes from a distance where I felt I wasn’t bothering them. However, on a few occasions I got a glance from one of the horses (as in the image below), which let me know that they knew I was there. I just wish I could have done something to help remove all the biting flies that were swarming them.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses | © Jay Moore Photography

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Bighorn Sheep | Glacier National Park

Bighorn sheep frequent Glacier National Park, but you have to keep your eyes open as they blend into their environment very well. During our hike up to Hidden Lake there was a small group of male bighorn sheep that were in the area. And lucky for us, another group of hikers were watching them when we came across that area, giving us the ability to see them.

Since they were up the slope several hundred yards, my good friend and I scrambled up around the side of them to get a better vantage point. I put on my 2x extender with my 70-200mm lens to zoom into the scene. And when the two of the males looked directly at me, I snapped off several frames, capturing the scene that you see below.

Hiking Insight: This is a very popular trail and is considered a somewhat easier hike within GNP, as it’s roughly 3 miles round trip to the overlook with an elevation gain of about 480 feet. This is also a great hike to combine with another smaller hike that can be taken in the afternoon, such as Avalanche Lake near Lake McDonald (see previous post).

Research Insight: We wore out both Vicky Spring’s book (Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park: A Complete Recreation Guide) and our iphone App (HIKE – Glacier National Park) and I highly suggest purchasing them both before your visit.

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses

One of the main stars of Assateague Island are the wild horses that call the narrow strip of sand dunes home. On a recent trip to one of our favorite camping spots, my wife and I had the opportunity to see dozens of horses playing, running and on a few occasions, wading in the ocean water (highlight image of that coming soon).

The flies were a little out of control on this particular day and the horses were doing their best to try and keep them away. Besides wading in the ocean waves, a few decided to take a roll in the sand to help with the problem, such as in the image below. They’re such amazing animals to see in the wild and to get the opportunity to see and photograph them rolling in the sand was something special.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses | © Jay Moore Photography

Continue to check back for additional highlight images from the wild horses at Assateague …

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Common Loon | Spoon Lake

The Common Loon is a wonderful bird who frequent fresh water lakes mostly in the Canadian area. Spoon Lake, one of the location where we stayed when visiting Glacier National Park, had a family of loons who called it home. Below is an image of part of the family enjoying their morning feast.


Common Loon | © Jay Moore Photography

Although their summer coats are pretty, as seen in the image above, they’re know mostly for their beautiful calls. Click on THIS LINK TO HEAR THEIR SOUNDS.

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses

Assateague National Seashore is a special place to visit and camp, not only because it’s a narrow stretch of sand nestled along the Atlantic Ocean, but because of the wild horses that occupy the area. The horses are one of the things that my wife and I look forward to seeing most each year when we camp on the dunes of Assateague Island.

You really never know how many horses you’ll see during your visit, so my wife and I were extremely happy during our recent trip, as there were many active bands of horses playing in and around the ocean’s waves. One set of horses came running by and stopped almost directly in front of us, so I grabbed my camera and snapped a few frames.


Assateague Island | Wild Horses | © Jay Moore Photography

Check back occasionally for additional highlight images from my time photographing this beautiful band of wild horses …

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Hidden Lake and Mountain Goat

Glacier National Park has many beautiful locations to view and enjoy when visiting, including the short hike up to Hidden Lake overlook. It’s one of the most crowded trails within the park, but is one that must not be missed, as the views are some of the best you’ll get when visiting Glacier NP.

And the image below is an example of when preparation meets luck, you can create something special.

The option to hike the remaining trail down to the lake was closed because of bear activities near the water, since the trout were spawning and several bears were in the area feeding. However, that fact ended up being a great benefit, since we stayed probably longer than we would of at the overlook with binoculars in hand scanning the lake to try and see a bear (and also because I went on a small side hike to photograph a few big horned sheep … images to come shortly). And just as we were about to leave, a mountain goat strolled into the area, walked around a bit and then stopped at the edge of the cliff looking down to Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain. It just stood there for a handful of seconds, right in front of us, as if it was soaking up the amazing view. All my camera settings were already set as I had been photographing the scene without the mountain goat for several minutes before. I was able to snap a few frames, including the image below, before it headed down the mountain side.


Hidden Lake and Mountain Goat | © Jay Moore Photography

Hiking Insight: This is a very popular trail and is considered a somewhat easier hike within GNP, as it’s roughly 3 miles round trip to the overlook with an elevation gain of about 480 feet. This is also a great hike to combine with another smaller hike that can be taken in the afternoon, such as Avalanche Lake near Lake McDonald (see previous post).

Research Insight: We wore out both Vicky Spring’s book (Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park: A Complete Recreation Guide) and our iphone App (HIKE – Glacier National Park) and I highly suggest purchasing them both before your visit.

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Cardinal In Flight

Cardinals are beautiful birds. The males are hard to miss as their bright red feathers can be seen from quite a distance. They’re fun to photograph in nature as their red feathers pop nicely against the complementary green backgrounds, such as in the image below.

When photographing any flying birds, especially ones that are diving from branches to a bird feeder, it’s important to make sure your shutter speed is as fast as possible. And switch your camera to multiple-frames, as you’ll get several images of the action versus just one.

Below is an image of a male cardinal heading down to a recently filled bird feeder.


Cardinal In Flight | © Jay Moore Photography

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Fireflies

Fireflies (lightning bugs) are one of my favorite elements of summer. The arrival of the many thousands of flying strobe lights mean that warm summer nights are upon us on the east coast.

Photographing them is not an easy task but can be done. Begin photographing them when there is only a small amount of light and use a long shutter speed to capture the wondering and somewhat unpredictable little guys. If you have a flashlight, bring it along because trying to manually focus your lens in the pitch dark can be difficult. In the image below I found an area that didn’t move in the wind because I was using a 30 second exposure.


Fireflies | © Jay Moore Photography

Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean it’s time to put your camera away. Grab your tripod and capture a few frames …

Print Purchase: If you’re interested in purchasing a photographic print, the image above (and all images posted on my blog) are available in all sizes. Please email be directly through the ‘contact Jay’ link located at the top of the page.


Elk


Elk | © Jay Moore Photography

Sometimes when you’re out in nature, you get lucky and wildlife comes to you. That was the case when a large elk, photographed above, came within a dozen feet or so of me and my good friend when we were out an about on a trip a few years back.

I was only able to snap off a few frames before deciding to take cover, as the elk was not happy that we were within his pack of female elk. You can almost see the elks eyes staring me down.


Starfish

Starfish | © Jay Moore Photography

The image above is yet another example of why it’s important to look down from time to time when on a photo walk or out in the field capturing beautiful, large landscapes.

This starfish was along the waters edge and not terribly easy to see (especially since my eyes were in my view finder looking at the horizon, sky and clouds). When I stumbled upon it, I got as close to it as possible and photographed it from a direction that would create angled light, showing the texture and details of the starfish.


Fishing Heron

Fishing Heron | © Jay Moore Photography

Wildlife was plentiful when my wife and I took a vacation to Florida earlier this year. It was fun to watch a few heron’s fishing along the coastline and it was even more exciting to be able capture a few frames of the beautiful creatures.

They wouldn’t let you get too close before flying off, so again, the longer lens was the way to go.


Pelican In Flight

Pelican In Flight | © Jay Moore Photography

Wildlife photography is something that I enjoy doing and continue to photograph more and more. There is something exhilarating about waiting patiently for your subject to move and then trying to capture the brief couple of seconds that it’s in action.

A couple things to remember when trying to capture wildlife. Your lens can never really be big enough (image above is with a 400mm and wished I had a 600mm) and you must have your settings correct or you will never capture a sharp image (start with the fastest shutter speed your camera can handle and work backward from there with ISO and aperture). And make sure to turn your camera to continuous shutter (multi-frame), as it will increase your chances of capturing an image worth keeping.

In the image above, I love how the pelicans wings are extremely close to the water. It’s amazing to me how it knows exactly how much space it has before touching.


Dolphins

Dolphins | Fun In The Sun | © Jay Moore Photography

Dolphins are smart creatures, even when it comes to playing in the sun. And with summer beating down on the East Coast and temperatures set to reach beyond 100 degrees in the mid-Atlantic states, I bring you an example of what dolphins do in the sunshine … Surf waves of course.

When photographing fast dolphins, people or objects (sprinter/race car/child) make sure you have your camera settings dialed in correctly. The number one most important thing is your shutter speed. The faster the better, as it will help you stop action. Start at 1/1000 or 1/2000 sec and a f8 aperture and see where your ISO needs to be to properly expose the image. If you’re at about ISO 800 (1600 with some cameras) or less, then you’re ready to go. If not, try adjusting your aperture to f5.6 and cranking your ISO to 1600 or 3200. Your images might be slightly pixilated, but that is always better than images that are out of focus because the shutter speed was unable to stop the action.

And one last note, use your longest lens in your camera bag, as it will help bring you into the action, while creating a nice bokeh, which helps make your subject pop within the scene.

ISO 640 | f8.0 | 1/2000 sec | 140 mm


Black Skimmer Birds

Black Skimmer Birds | © Jay Moore Photography

While visiting the gulf side of the Florida coast, we saw lots of wildlife, including the black skimmer bird. The bird gets its name because they skim across the water with its beak open, catching small minnows on the surface.

They’re very easy to find in this area of the world, as they are dotted up and down the coast. However, on an early morning photo walk, I came across hundreds of them packed together, all facing toward where the sun was to rise. I found the site very interesting and spent about an hour photographing them. The thrilling part of the morning was that every 10-15 minutes the entire group would get spooked and all would take flight at the same time.

I was able to capture the image above as I positioned myself within the proper spot to utilize the light of the rising sun and then used my zoom lens to help compress the scene and give many layers of black skimmer birds within the final photograph.


Buddies

Buddies | © Jay Moore Photography

Buddies? I doubt it. But, while carefully viewing the alligators while on our trip to Florida, it was fun watching the dragonflies continue to sit atop the alligators heads.

When exploring the everglades we made a stop along a side road that is known for its alligator population. And even though we were on elevated boardwalks to view the prehistoric creatures, there was a sense of uneasiness, since we continued to find them sitting randomly all over the location.

What was really funny about the spot was that it actually had picnic tables in one of the grassy areas. I guess there are some who find it relaxing to set up for a causal lunch near an area that is pack full of alligators. Not us. We viewed, we photographed, we departed … No picnic.

ISO 400 | f7.1 | 1/200 sec | 400 mm


Jumping Dolphin

Jumping Dolphin | © Jay Moore Photography

Dolphin’s really are amazing creatures, as they are not only beautiful and sleek, but they also like to let loose and just have some fun every once in awhile. We saw that first hand when my wife and I went on a boat excursion through the Ten Thousand Island area of southern Florida.

While coming back at the end of our trip, there was an open section of water that when the captain spotted a group of dolphins heading our way, he cranked up the engine of the boat to the right speed, to create a perfect dolphin wave. Find out, dolphins love to surf and jump in the wake of the boat, which was truly an amazing sight to see. They would catapult themselves several feet out of the water, some doing what we felt were tricks, such as in the image above, where the dolphin seems to being doing a ‘side-90-facky’ (just made that up) and showing off for its dolphin friends.

All kidding aside, when photographing fast and quick action (such as jumping dolphins), to stop movement to get crisp, clean images of the maneuvers, it’s key to make sure your shutter speed is the focus of your settings. I set my shutter to 1/1000 sec (and eventually to 1/2000 sec) and then adjusted my aperture accordingly. I also switched to continuous mode, to make sure I was able to get multiple images of each of the dolphins jumps.

ISO 400 | f10 | 1/1000 sec | 165 mm